Monthly Archives: May 2023

Nisei Soldiers part 2 | Memorial Day 2023

306th HQ Intelligence Detachment, XXIV Corps, Leyte, Philippines, November 1, 1944. Front row, l to r: George Shimotori, Saburo Okamura, Thomas Sasaki, Francis Yamamoto Herbert Nishihara, Warren Tsuneishi. Back row, l to r: Hiroshi Itow, Joe Nishihara, Lt. Richard Kleeman, TSgt George Takabayashi, Lloyd Shimasato.
(Signal Corps photo)

When the first graduates were sent to the Pacific and landed in Australia, they were part of the Americal troops. Many were sent to help with the fighting on Iwo Jima, which MacArthur felt was taking far too long to complete. Some stayed and worked with the Australian troops and others went to British or Canadian units. (Canada also had their own S-20 Japanese Language School in Vancouver, British Columbia to train interpreters.) Only the U.S. Navy rejected the linguists. Admiral Halsey did in fact understand their importance and requested some MIS’ers for his fleet, but as a whole, Nimitz and the rest of the navy wanted to continue using their own intelligence personnel. (A very serious mistake in Leyte Gulf.)

Nisei at work in Manila, 1945

It was difficult to locate the Nisei that worked G-2 specifically for the 11th Airborne and when because the men were rarely ever put on the official rosters. A MISer could train with the 11th Airborne on New Guinea and by December he was in Burma or up in the Aleutians. They were as difficult to track as the 11th A/B themselves. One Nisei found himself stuck at the Panama Canal, not at all certain what he was supposed to do there.

Ben Hazzard (mustache) w/ the 306th Language Detachment

But, I did manage to locate a fair number of fellow paratroopers from Smitty’s division: Clarence Ohta and John Nakahara jumped with the 11th on Luzon. George Kojima, Koshi Ando and James Harada were with the 503d Regiment. Harry Akune jumped on Corregidor without any training, injured his ankle and went to work translating immediately. He was later at Atsugi airfield with MacArthur. After the service he went back to college.

314 HQ Intelligence/96th Infantry Div.

There was also: Robert Kimura and Mitsuo Usui; Takeshi “Jim” Fujisaka (lived in Fresno, CA and passed away 7 Sept. 1996); Tetsuo Koga; Norman Kihuta (with the 511th G-2 was discharged 6 Jan. 1946); Mike Miyatake went back to his customs job after his discharge; Akira Abe took his parachute training, flew to New Guinea and continued with the 11th A/B throughout Leyte and Luzon. Jiro Tukimura and Eddie Tamada were also noted in the records.

Nisei saving lives by flushing out caves.

In February of 1943, the Taiyo Maru, a Japanese transport ship, was sunk and a lifeboat washed up on Goodenough Island, north of New Guinea;s eastern tip. On that boat was a document that included a list of 40,000 Imperial Army officers from Hideki Tojo on down. These papers, once translated, gave the rank of each officer, unit assigned, the order of battle and the amount of men in each of these units. This information along with documents previously acquired and translated established the exact location of all Japanese units. This work alone was worth the time and effort of forming the MIS.

While their families were confined, more than 33,000 Japanese Americans played a major role in the war effort.  Many of them loved their country enough to risk their lives in combat. For others, it was the chance to prove their loyalty and the honor of their families; this they did as members of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team fighting up the rugged Italian Peninsula and across Southern France. Others interrogated Japanese prisoners and translated Japanese documents in the Army’s Military Intelligence Section in the Pacific and China-Burma-India Theaters. Over eight hundred Japanese Americans were killed in action serving their country.

Click on images to enlarge.

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MEMORIAL DAY

I usually prepare a post just for Memorial Day, but after looking through those I did in the past, I felt I should just leave a link for those interested in honoring our fallen.  Those who fell giving you the freedoms you enjoy today.  Thank you.

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/?s=memorial+day

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frederic M. Ashler – Hamburg, IA; US Navy, WWII

Richard Dow – Albuquerque, NM; US Army, WWII

Alexander Dreyfoos Jr. – W. Palm Beach, FL; US Air Force, Commander of photo recon lab / FL cultural icon, founder of the Dreyfoos Center

Gary Kent – Walla Walla, WA; US Navy  / actor, stuntman, director

James Litherland – So. Williamsport, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 2nd Lt. # 325585, 359/303 Bomb Group, B-17 co-pilot, KIA (Le Translay, FRA)

Wilbur A. Mitts – Seaside, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Navy Torpedo Squadron-20, radioman # 351669, USS Enterprise, KIA (Malakal, Palau Is.)

Leroy C. Nordby – Nisswa, MN; US Army, 187th RCT

Richard D. Rigdon – Bowling Green, KY; US Army, NATO, 187/101st Airborne Division, Sgt. (Ret. 20 y.)

Eugene “Butch” Skoch – East Meadow, NY; US Army, Vietnam, Pfc. # 298459, KIA (Gia Dinh prov., SV)

Henry “Joe” Tilk – E. St. Louis, IL; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Dominick R.  Tranquilli Sr. – Summit, NJ; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

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Japanese-Americans | the Nisei in WWII, part one (1)

Nisei soldiers

Smitty held the Nisei in very high regard and I would be remiss in neglecting to tell their story. Beside, one of these men might have been directly responsible for the safe return of my father. In reality, it would be near impossible to relate a story of the Pacific War without mentioning their service. Some of this unique intelligence force worked ‘behind the scene’ stateside U.S.A. or Australia, but many were up front and fighting at and behind enemy lines.

Smitty always had extreme appreciation for the courage, resilience and down-right crazy stunts they pulled off. They were capable of going behind the lines to acquire information or cut into the radio lines and all the while they remained quite aware that their own units might mistake them for the enemy when they returned. This did happen more than once.

Most everyone is aware of whom the Nisei are, but for clarification purposes, here are some of the terms that might be used in this section or if you continue with your own research:

AJA – Americans of Japanese Ancestry
MISers – the name used for students and graduates of the Military Intelligence Service Language School
Issei – first generation Japanese-American
Nisei – second generation Japanese-American, (this term is for definition only – Nisei prefer to state that they are American)
Kibei – Japanese-American who received education in Japan

At the language school, the students were crammed with courses and put on a strict schedule. Some courses included:

Kanji – a Japanese method of writing based on Chinese logographic characters
Kaisho – the printed form of Kanji and can only be read by someone who has memorized a great number of ideographs
Gyosho – hand written Japanese, very similar to the Palmer Method of Penmanship and is very difficult for Americans
Sosho – the shorthand version of Kanji and almost impossible for an American to learn. Most Japanese field orders were taken down by this method.

Kai Rasmussen

It must be noted that many of these men had family incarcerated in detainment camps and serving in the Imperial Army & Navy, but in school, on the job and in combat they loyally worked to do their level best. The language school began 1 November 1941 at Crissy Field, with Lt. Colonel John Wickerling in charge. His right hand man, educator and recruiter, Kai Rasmussen, was a primary force in the success of the school. He was a West Point grad who spoke Japanese with a Danish accent and would eventually earn the Legion of Merit for his efforts.

A move was necessary from San Francisco to Camp Savage, Minnesota. The change in location was largely due to the bigotry that had overwhelmed California at the time. The most influential white supremacists included: Earl Warren; The Natives Sons and Daughters of the Golden West; William Randolph Hearst and his newspapers and Congressman Leland Ford. Eventually, the school needed to expand and moved to Fort Snelling, St. Paul.

Rasmussen’s right hand man was John Fujio Aiso, an attorney out of Brown and Harvard and had studied at Chuo University in Tokyo. (He was originally assigned to a motor pool because the Army felt they had no need for additional lawyers.) Rasmussen traveled across the country in attempts to find candidates for the school. The Pentagon had kept the paperwork for the operations of the Nisei secret for three decades, but Smitty began talking about them once I was old enough to ask questions.

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Military Humor –

“BECAUSE DOORS ARE FOR SISSIES.”

“AIM FOR THE CAT!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Current News –

Please hop on over to Pat’s blog to help share a veteran’s birthday!   Click HERE for equips!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ruby Atchley – Pine Bluff, AR; Civilian, WWII, ammo plant

Jerry G. Cooper – Hattiesburg, MS; US Army, Vietnam, Captain, 101st Airborne Division, helicopter pilot

Tabe de Vries – Ljmuiden, NETH; Dutch Underground, WWII

Harry E. Elston III – Warren, OH; US Army, Vietnam, H Co/75th Infantry Rangers

William Hodge – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII, Sgt.

Clyde H. Lane – Greece, NY; US Army, 503/11th Airborne Division

Thomas C. Mayes, Jr. – Coral Gables, FL; US Air Force + Reserves, Captain

Douglas L. Townley – Tonawanda, NY; USMC, WWII

Robert E. Weisblut – Washington, D.C.; US Army

James A. Whitmore – Mesquite, NV; US Air Force, Electronic Warfare Officer on F-105’s & F-16’s

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A Tribute to Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won the War

Andrew Jackson Higgins

Andrew Jackson Higgins, the man Dwight D. Eisenhower once credited with winning World War II, was a wild and wily genius.

At the New Orleans plant where his company built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944, Higgins hung a sign that said, “Anybody caught stealing tools out of this yard won’t get fired — he’ll go to the hospital.”

Whatever Higgins did, he did it a lot. “His profanity,” Life magazine said, was “famous for its opulence and volume.” So was his thirst for Old Taylor bourbon, though he curtailed his intake by limiting his sips to a specific location.

I only drink,” he told Life magazine, “while I’m working.”

It is Higgins himself who takes your breath away,” Raymond Moley, a former FDR adviser,  wrote in Newsweek in 1943. “Higgins is an authentic master builder, with the kind of will power, brains, drive and daring that characterized the American empire builders of an earlier generation.”

Higgins was not native to the South, despite his love of bourbon. He grew up in Nebraska, where, at various ages, he was expelled from school for fighting. Higgins’ temperament improved around boats. He built his first vessel in the basement when he was 12. It was so large that a wall had to be torn down to get it out.

He moved South in his early 20s, working in the lumber industry. He hadn’t thought much about boats again until a tract of timber in shallow waters required him to build a special vessel so he could remove the wood. Higgins signed up for a correspondence course in naval architecture, shifting his work from timber to boats.

In the late 1930s, he owned a small shipyard in New Orleans. By then, his special shallow-craft boat had become popular with loggers and oil drillers. They were “tunnel stern boats,” whose magic was in the way the “hull incorporated a recessed tunnel used to protect the propeller from grounding,” according to the Louisiana Historical Association.

The Higgnins’ “Eureka” boat

Higgins called it the “Eureka” boat. The war brought interest by U.S. forces in a similar style vessel to attack unguarded beaches and avoid coming ashore at heavily defended ports. The Marines settled on the Higgins boat, transforming what had been a 50-employee company into one of the world’s largest manufacturers.

“To put Higgins’s accomplishment in perspective,” historian Douglas Brinkley wrote in a 2000 article in American Heritage magazine, consider this: “By September 1943, 12,964 of the American Navy’s 14,072 vessels had been designed by Higgins Industries. Put another way, 92 percent of the U.S. Navy was a Higgins navy.”

Though Eisenhower and even Hitler acknowledged the importance of the Higgins boat — military leaders came to call it “the bridge to the beach” — its builder went mostly unmentioned in histories of the war. That is, until 17 years ago, when the World War II Museum opened in New Orleans and recognized Higgins’ life, displaying a reproduction of his boat.

Still, there’s been just one biography written: “Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II” by historian Jerry Strahan.

“Without Higgins’s uniquely designed craft, there could not have been a mass landing of troops and matériel on European shores or the beaches of the Pacific islands, at least not without a tremendously higher rate of Allied casualties,” Strahan wrote.

Higgins Hotel, New Orleans, LA

The WWII Museum in New Orleans officially broke ground on the Higgins Hotel directly across the street from the museum in 2017.

The one man in the South I want especially to see is Andrew Jackson Higgins.  I want to tell him, face to face, that Higgins’ landing boats such as we had at Guadalcanal are the best in the world.  They do everything but talk; honest they do.”  ___ Warrant Officer Machinist, James D. Fox, quoted in the Shreveport Times, 6 March 1943

AJ Higgins held 30 patents, mostly covering amphibious landing craft and vehicles.

Higgins died in New Orleans on 1 August 1952, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery.  He had been hospitalized for a week to treat stomach ulcers when he suffered a fatal stroke.

Article resources: The World War II Museum in New Orleans (2018 Annual Report), The Marine Corps & the Washington Post.

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Current info – 

May – Military Appreciation Month –

From: Cora Metz posters

May 18, 2019 – Armed Forces Day

A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’

Armed Forces. Learn more…

May 27, 2019 – Memorial Day (Decoration Day)

A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the United States. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries.

The coloring books include pages for Mother’s Day.

Learn more…

LINK – Coloring page for military children

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Military Humor – 

Military Contractors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Louis J. Abshire Sr. – Amelia, LA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Courtesy of Dan Antion @ https://nofacilities.com/

Theodore “Bud” Benard – Payson, UT; US Army, WWII, PTO, 96th Infantry Division

Ray Cline – WV; US Navy, WWII, USS Biddle (DD-151)

Owen R. Dievendorf – Fort Plum, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical Corps, x-ray tech, Sgt.

Glenn Francis – Santa Monica, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Quartermaster, USS Natoma Bay

Edgar L. Galson – Syracuse, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Field Artillery, radio/forward observer

Charles Haughey – Chicago, IL; Civilian, WWII, Dodge B-29 engine plant

Charles ‘C.C.’ Lee – Lexington, KY; US Navy, WWII & Korea, Chief Flight Deck Electrician, USS Corregidor & Block Island

Luther H. Story – Americus, GA; US Army, Korea, Cpl. A Co/1/9/2nd Infantry Division, KIA (Sangde-po, SK), Medal of Honor

Olive Thompson – ENG/CAN; WRoyal Naval Service WREN, WWII

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Mopping-up the Japanese Midget-Submarines

Japanese type-A midget sub salvaged near Pearl Harbor

By definition, a midget submarine is less than 150 tons, has a crew of no more than eight, has no on-board living accommodation, and operates in conjunction with a mother ship to provide the living accommodations and other support. The Japanese Navy built at least 800 midgets in 7 classes, but only a fraction had any noticeable impact on the war. Their intended purpose initially was to be deployed in front of enemy fleets, but their actual use would be in harbor attacks and coastal defense.

Japanese type-D sub sitting at the Yokosuka Naval Base, Sept. 1945

The Japanese midget subs were not named but were numbered with “Ha” numbers (e.g., Ha-19). These numbers were not displayed on the exterior and operationally the midgets were referred to according to the numbers of their mother ships. Thus, when I-24 launched Ha-19, the midget was known as “I-24tou” (designated “M24” in some texts). The “Ha” numbers were not unique either; some Type D’s were numbered Ha-101 through Ha-109.

In mid-1944, with coastal defense requirements becoming urgent, the Japanese Navy developed the Koryu Tei Gata Type D. More than just another improved version of the Type A, this was a new design. They were the largest of Japan’s midgets, displacing about 60 tons, 86 feet (26 meters) in length, with a five-man crew, featuring a more powerful diesel engine, and had improved operating endurance. Koryu’s armament consisted of two muzzle-loaded 17.7-inch torpedoes. As with the earlier types, individual boats had alpha-numeric names in the “Ha” series beginning with Ha-101.

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Some 115 units had been completed when Japan capitulated in August 1945. At the end of the war, Allied Occupation forces found hundreds of midget submarines built and building in Japan, including large numbers of the “Koryu” type; nearly 500 more were under construction. Some of these submarines intended for training pilots for Kaiten type manned torpedoes, had an enlarged conning tower and two periscopes.

Kaiten design

Kaiten submarines were designed to be launched from the deck of a submarine or surface ship, or from coastal installations as a coastal defense weapon. The cruiser, IJN Kitakami, was equipped to launch Kaiten and took part in sea launch trials of Type 1s. In addition, several destroyers of the Matsu class were also adapted to launch the weapon.
In practice, only the Type 1 craft, using the submarine delivery method, were ever used in combat. Specially equipped submarines carried two to six Kaiten, depending on their class.

After the end of the conflict, several of Japan’s most innovative and advanced submarines were sent to Hawaii for inspection in “Operation Road’s End” (I-400I-401I-201, and I-203) before being scuttled by the U.S. Navy in 1946 when the Soviet Union demanded access to the IJN submarines.

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Don’t Forget :

May is Military Appreciation Month, for this coming week….

May 8, 2019 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day

(Celebrated May 7 in commonwealth countries)

A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Europe during World War II

on May 8, 1945. Learn more…

May 10, 2019 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day

A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of

the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more…

​LINK – Practical insights in caring for a military home front family

May 12, 2018 – Mother’s Day

LINK – Organizations that support deployed military personnel on Mother’s Day

LINK – Coloring page for military children

May 13, 2019 – Children of Fallen Patriots Day

A day to honor the families our Fallen Heroes have left behind – especially their children. It’s a reminder to the community that we have an obligation to support the families of our Fallen Patriots. Learn more…

SHAKE A VETERAN’S HAND TODAY!

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Melville R. Anderson (100) – Chicopee, MA; US Navy, WWII, ETO/PTO

Peter Badie Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII

Memories of them…

Harry Belafonte – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII (Home front)  /  Singer, actor, political activist

Alejandro Chavez – Miami, AZ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Aubrain, engine room

Leroy Fadem (102) – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII, Lt. SG, USS Stevens & LST-871

Lester Finney – England, AR; US Air Force, SMSgt. (Ret. 28 y.), firefighter load master

Fletcher “Buster” Harris – Atlers, OK; US Army, WWII, 325th Glider Infantry

Richard K. Rowe – Limestone, TN; US Army, Vietnam, Ranger, 82nd Airborne Division, Purple Heart

John Seagoe – Cottage Grove, OR; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Cooper D. Wolfgram – Alamo, CA; US Army, HQ/SISCO/82nd Airborne Division

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OH NO!!

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Post War Asia

Cold War Asian map

In eastern Asia, the end of the war brought a long period of turmoil. In the European colonies occupied by Japan, liberation movements were established–some strongly Communist in outlook. In Indochina, Indonesia, and Malaya, wars were fought against the colonial powers as well as between rival factions.

The messy aftermath of war precipitated the final crisis of the old European imperialism; by the early 1950s, most of Southeast Asia was independent. In Burma and India, Britain could not maintain its presence. India was divided into two states in 1947, India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Muslim), and Burma was granted independence a year later.

Japan was not restored to full sovereignty until after the San Francisco Treaty was signed on September 8, 1951. The emperor was retained, but the military was emasculated and a parliamentary regime had been installed. Japanese prewar possessions were divided up. Manchuria was restored to China in 1946 (though only after the Soviet Union had removed more than half the industrial equipment left behind by the Japanese). Taiwan was returned to Chinese control. Korea was occupied jointly by the Soviet Union and the United States, and two independent states — one Communist, one democratic — were established there in 1948.

The most unstable area remained China, where the prewar conflict between Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists and the Chinese Communists led by Mao Zedong was resumed on a large scale in 1945.

After four years of warfare, the Nationalist forces were defeated and Chiang withdrew to the island of Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China was declared in 1949, and a long program of rural reform and industrialization was set in motion. The victory of Chinese communism encouraged Stalin to allow the Communist regime in North Korea to embark on war against the South in the belief that America lacked the commitment for another military conflict.

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when the troops of Kim Il Sung crossed the 38th parallel, the agreed-upon border between the two states. By this stage, the international order had begun to solidify into two heavily armed camps.

In 1949 the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb. That same year, the U.S. helped organize a defensive pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to link the major Western states together for possible armed action against the Communist threat.

By 1951 Chinese forces were engaged in the Korean conflict, exacerbating concerns that another world war — this time with nuclear weapons — might become a reality. The optimism of 1945 had, in only half a decade, given way to renewed fears that international anarchy and violence might be the normal condition of the modern world.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

“I HOPE YOU’RE NOT ANGRY WITH ME FOR TAKING YOU AWAY FROM YOUR FRIENDS.”

“WELL, NO… BUT I DO HELP RUN IT.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Andrew H. Anderson – NYC, NY; US Army, Pentagon, Vietnam, 1/5/25th Infantry Division commander, MGeneral (Ret. 40 y.)

David M. Blum – Newark, NJ; US Army, counterintelligence

Vernon J. Cox – Edison, NJ/Port St. Lucie, FL; US Merchant Marines

Christopher R. Eramo – Oneonta, NY; Chief Warrant Officer 3, 1/25/11th Airborne Division Arctic

John C. Grant – Detroit, MI; US Navy, US Naval Academy graduate 1956

Harvey R. Hathaway – Rocky River, OH; US Air Force, captain, Medical Unit M.D.

Joseph P. Kuc – Buffalo, NY; US Air Force

Kyle D. McKenna – Colorado Springs, CO; Chief Warrant Officer 2, 1/25/11th Airborne Arctic

Rafael A. Oliver – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Thomas E. Perugini – Philadelphia, PA; US Army

William C. Talen Sr. – Delray Beach, FL; US Army, WWII

Grace Uhart – Oakland, CA; US Army WAC,  WWII, secretary, General Staff Pentagon,

Stuart D. Wayment – North Logan, UT; Warrant Officer 1, 1/25/11th Airborne Division Arctic

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